Managing Your Laundry

Laundry is not usually the most popular of household tasks. It can be made much more bearable by using any of a whole range of appliances and sophisticated detergents that are available and which make the task easier, and by investing in clothes, etc. made from the wide choice of ‘easy care’ fabrics.

However, in spite of all these aids, people often achieve poor results, which can be discouraging and expensive. There are several reasons for this.

People are often confused by the wide range of detergents — why isn’t there just one for everything? In addition, every time you look, there seems to be a new fabric on the market, often needing special treatment, which can mean that it shouldn’t be washed in your normal load of laundry. And, with so many washing machines, tumble driers and irons on sale, it is often difficult to decide which is the best for your purposes.

Frequently, the reason for poor results lies in not bothering to read instructions on detergent packs, care labels and the manuals that come with washing machines or driers.

The task then is to achieve satisfactory results with the weekly wash, and to attempt to reduce to a minimum disasters such as baggy, faded acrylic sweaters and greying nylon underwear.

The following sections may help to clarify some points related to fabrics, care labels and washing products.

DETERGENTS AND OTHER LAUNDRY AIDS

Again, the choice on any supermarket shelf is be-wildering, but it helps to have a little knowledge about what all the various products do, to enable you to make the best choice for your particular needs. Remember, although many of the products appear to be similar, not only do they differ but people also differ greatly in their requirements.

The chart below will help you to make a quick selection to suit your particular life-style.

HOW MUCH POWDER TO USE

Don’t ignore the quantity recommendations on packs.

They are there as a guide and not to encourage you to use more powder than is necessary.

Everyone’s circumstances differ, and you need to adjust amounts accordingly. One cup holds 85-100 g (3-3 ½ oz). Re commendations vary for hard and soft water,

For soaking and hand washing use ½ cup of powder for 4,5 litres (1 gallon) water, 1 ½ cups per sink (23 litres, 5 gallons), ½-¾ cup per bucket (9 litres, 2 gallons).

EQUIPMENT

When choosing equipment for washing clothes from the very wide range available, there are a number of points to consider:

Space What is available? Will the machine fit under a working surface? Will one appliance stack on top of another?

‘Cost How much can you afford to pay? Do you want to pay outright or by a hire-purchase arrangement?

Size How many members in your family? Do you have a large wash every week or several times a week?

Time How much can you give to the job? Here, the choice between single, twin-tub and automatic would be important.

Before buying Inspect various models in each type and compare prices, finishes, etc. Many shops offer good discounts on electrical goods. Enquire about after-sales servicing and owners-club schemes — they will save you money.

WASHING MACHINES

There are three main types: Single tubs (semi-automatic) Are the cheapest. These compact machines remove the bulk of the water, but do not get clothes dry.

Twin tubs (semi-automatic) Combine wash tub and spin drier, They can be quite expensive and do not take large loads or very bulky items.

Automatic machines Come in two types: top loading with central paddle; and the horizontal drum automatic which can be front or top loading. Both types carry out all the washing processes.

The six essentials of machine washing

1 Read the machine manual carefully.

2 Sort clothes carefully according to the care label.

3 Use the correct water temperature.

4 Use the correct washing product and quantity.

5 Load machine carefully.

6 Rinse thoroughly.

DRYING EQUIPMENT

Wringers Hand operated or electrical. Do not get clothes dry enough for ironing.

Spin driers Can extract 80 per cent of water from clothes. Their loads must be distributed evenly.

Tumble driers Before use consider: the time and the heat (usually three settings) required for drying; and the movement of clothes — do not overload. Wipe them out and remove fluff from filter after use.

OUTDOOR DRYING

Wipe plastic-coated clothes lines before use if out all the time. Remember to dry woollens and synthetics in shade.

IRONS

Recommended iron settings: ‘Hot’ (210°C): cotton, linen viscose or modified viscose. ‘Warm’ (160°C): polyester mixtures, wool.

‘Cool’ (120°C): acrylic, nylon acetate, triacetate, polyester.

EQUIPMENT

When choosing equipment for washing clothes from the very wide range available, there are a number of points to consider:

Space What is available? Will the machine fit under a working surface? Will one appliance stack on top of another?

Cost How much can you afford to pay? Do you want to pay outright or by a hire-purchase arrangement?

Size How many members in your family? Do you have a large wash every week or several times a week?

Time How much can you give to the job? Here, the choice between single, twin-tub and automatic would be important.

Before buying Inspect various models in each type and compare prices, finishes, etc. Many shops offer good discounts on electrical goods. Enquire about after-sales servicing and owners-club schemes — they will save you money.

IRONS

Recommended iron settings: ‘Hot’ (210°C): cotton, linen viscose or modified viscose. ‘Warm’ (160°C): polyester mixtures, wool.

‘Cool’ (120°C): acrylic, nylon acetate, triacetate, polyester.

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